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An example of what a Chrome app ported to Android would look like.
An example of what a Chrome app ported to Android would look like.

A new set of tools announced by Google today will help developers port their apps from the Chrome desktop browser to Android and iOS — part of an effort by the search giant to expand the reach of Chrome as a software platform.

chromepinGoogle’s move is interesting because it lets developers create a unified experience that runs on iOS, Android, Windows, OS X and Chrome OS. While Microsoft has unified the core of Windows and Windows Phone to make it easier to develop between the platforms, Google’s offering allows devs to build one app and reach a much wider audience, including the two dominant mobile operating systems.

The initiative follows the company’s move last year to let developers create Chrome apps that run offline by default and behave like native desktop apps. 

In a blog post announcing the project today, Google software engineer Andrew Grieve said these mobile apps are much the same. They will work without an internet connection by default, and developers will be able to distribute them through Apple’s iOS App Store and Google’s Play Store.

Google is using tools derived from the open-source Apache Cordova project. To create one of those apps, Google has created what seems like a fairly straightforward command-line tool that’s designed to package an existing Chrome app and make it mobile ready.

For more information on the project, check out details here.

Photo by stshank via Flickr.

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